The fourth annual Pachanga Latino Music Festival was held at Fiesta Gardens on Saturday May 21st and I got to check out the event and a good number of bands in its eclectic lineup. There was an international mix of tejano, indie, mariachi, funk, rap, cumbia and electronic bands/djs. The more than 20 bands came from international locales but a number of them were Austin locals. The Echocentrics, Maneja Beto, Este Vato, La Guerrilla, DaHeBeGeBees, Gina Chavez, Son de Rey, Peligrosa All-Stars, Rian C and Conjunto Romo are all born and bred Austin locals. It was impossible for me to check all of these bands out but I did manage to catch at least a couple songs from most of them.
These guys played early on the Hierba Stage and started it off funky. Their mix of vibrant Blues, Soul and Funk have drawn comparisons to Los Lonely Boys and War. The band sounded tight. The funked-up guitar and popping bass lines were backed by groovy syncopated snare and cymbal work.
This eight-piece brought with them their cumbia and hip-hop influenced rock tunes and got the crowd grooving. In their songs there was a mix of Spanish and English lyrics which were sang and also rapped. Where this band really shined was in their percussion section in which they mixed the traditional drum set and latin percussion quite nicely.
I checked out The Echocentrics after I got a bite to eat at one of the numerous food spots lined up at the back of the venue that served piping hot menudo, tacos and other local trailer eats. I had heard a little buzz about the Echocentrics after their show at SXSW. The band consists of a group of musicians from around the world (Austin, Brooklyn and Brazil.) The leader of the group is Adrian Quesada from the local groups Grupo Fantasma and Brownout. All the songs had an eery psychedelic vibe and featured the beautifully smooth vocals of Natalia Clavier and Tita Lima. They’ve got an interesting nostalgic vibe and I can’t wait to give their recent debut release Sunshadows a listen.
Toy Selectah is a mashup DJ from Monterrey, Mexico that has gotten a lot of buzz in the states for his Vampire Weekend remixes and his Lil Wayne and Devendra Banhart mashups. This was the performance I was looking forward to most at Pachanga and I definitely was not disappointed. Toy Selectah’s mashup of Jeremih’s/50 Cent’s “Down on Me” incorporated cumbia rhythms and made the whole crowd go wild. It was definitely crazy to me to see guys with luchador masks grinding on ladies with ranchero cowboy hats while popular rap singles were being mashed up with traditional Mexican rhythms. The whole set was an insane and masterful mixup of hot US tracks with electro cumbia. Toy Selectah definitely has crazy remix skills take a listen for yourself of a sample of his remix style below.
Ozomatli headlined the show and the crowd was packed. Their LA vibe is definitely represented in their high-energy and hip-hop infused funky cumbia/salsa. Instead of mosh pits, salsa pits were springing up in the densly packed crowd while the band played their hits “Chango” and “Cumbia de los Muertos.” They ended the show on a great note but I was still reeling from Toy Selectah’s set.